Windham's proposed budget up about 5 percent

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Windham Town Hall 

WINDHAM — The proposed town budget for fiscal year 2017-18 is $17.6 million, up from $16.8 million the previous year, which amounts to a nearly 5 percent increase. 

Town Manager Tony Plante submitted the proposed budget to the Town Council last week. If enacted, it would result in an overall property tax increase of about $300,000 from last year’s estimated budget. According to Plante, that would result in a roughly 1 percent increase for Windham residents on their property tax bill. 

“I did want to take just a few minutes to share with the council, and the public in particular, where we are at the start of the formal budget process,” Plante said during the council meeting April 11. “Department heads, senior staff members, their staff – those that have them – and I have been working on the 2018 budget for weeks, or even months now.”

“But this is the start of the formal process: the submission 0f the manager’s proposed budget,” Plante continued. “And I’d like to thank all of them for their work so far. I know we’ll be working with the finance committee over the next couple of weeks in a series of meetings to review that.” 

The proposed budget has been available online since March 31. According to Plante, it is based on key issues, projects and strategies outlined in the town’s strategic plan, which was approved in 2015 by the council – as well as new or unexpected circumstances. 

Plante noted that Windham “continues to be one of southern Maine’s fastest growing” communities, and that the town will “continue to focus on the community’s goals and how to meet them.” 

“If there are no questions, we’ll send it off to the finance committee,” said Council Vice Chairman David Nadeau, who ran the April 11 meeting.

“(What) if we have some ideas of things that we’d like to see in the budget?” asked Councilor Robert Muir. 

“You get them to me, and we’ll try to have it all done so there’s a finished product here,” responded Nadeau, who chairs the finance committee. 

With Council Chairman Dennis Welch and Councilor Donna Chapman absent for the vote on April 11, the council voted 5-0 to refer the budget to the finance committee. Chapman was present earlier in the meeting, but had to leave before the vote. 

The finance committee, which includes Councilors Nadeau, Welch and Timothy Nangle, has held multiple meetings on the proposed budget since it was referred to them. Nadeau said the committee will continue to have meetings throughout the month. 

The full council is expected take up the budget in May, before the budgetary town meeting in mid-June where residents will vote on it. After that, the budget process begins again for the following year. 

“It seems we’re never quite free of the budget process,” Plante said. 

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Windham Town Hall 

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